Welcome to the Windy City! It is with excitement after two years of tremendously successful healthy virtual symposiums that we can finally meet in person once again to share in our annual Symposium. The 2022 Symposium will be held in Chicago, October 27–30, 2022 at the iconic Palmer House-Hilton, 17 East Monroe Street, located in the theater district, and a downtown historic landmark of over 140 years.
Palmer House Hilton
You can also find hotel information here, and its history here.
Our special hotel rate and perks will be:
Sign in for the Symposium and pick up your registrant packets Wed. 10-4, Thurs. 10-1:30, and Friday, 10-4 at the registration table in the Mezzanine Lobby (on the 2nd floor overlooking the lobby).
Our Thursday opening reception will be held a bit earlier than usual on the Odyssey Chicago River Cocktail Cruise from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Boarding time is 3:00 p.m. The Odyssey Chicago River is a single-level climate-controlled, glass-enclosed dining vessel that cruises the Chicago River. Onboard cuisine includes cocktails with a lighter fare and onboard architectural narration and up-close views of Chicago’s landmark architecture.
Odyssey Chicago Cocktail Cruise
This wonderful experience is all included in your registration fee for the Symposium. Boarding is located approximately two blocks from the Palmer House Hotel at Magnificent Mile, 310 E. North Water St., On Riverwalk at NBC Tower.
Check out the Odyssey Chicago River Video!
Friday will be our speaker presentations, and Chris Mahoney has assembled a fascinating slate. Check out the list of presentations below.
Saturday will be our exceptional dealer photo show, auction, and banquet, all held at the Palmer House. This year we will be adding a virtual experience so this will be one evening not to be missed.
Room hopping will be available Thursday and Friday evenings. There will be door signs for open rooms and a sign-up sheet for people with open rooms at the registration table on the Mezzanine Lobby level.
A board meeting of The Daguerreian Society will be held on Sunday.
One highlight of the upcoming Daguerreian Society Symposium in Chicago will be a stellar line-up of speakers on Friday, October 27th. While we’ve all been sustained by the Society’s dynamic program of Zoom presentations and panels during the pandemic, we welcome the richer experience of attending these lectures in person and engaging with the speakers and our fellow Society members in a lively discussion about early photography.
Here’s what we have to look forward to:
Curator and scholar Keith Davis focuses on the work of George N. Barnard, whose photographic career began in the Daguerreian era and continued through the Civil War and beyond. Keith began his research into Barnard in the 1970s, winning an NEH Fellowship for it in 1986, and curating the travelling 1990 exhibition, George N. Barnard: Photographer of Sherman’s Campaign. Keith’s work expanded knowledge of Barnard’s life and work by a full order of magnitude, and his presentation will survey the full scope of Barnard’s career, while going into the process and rewards of pre-internet research, to come to some understanding of Barnard’s creative/expressive ideas and his personal character. Barnard remains one of the key figures in mid-19th century American photography, and we will undoubtedly gain a more thorough understanding of his status through Keith’s talk.
Historian and photographer David R. Hanlon will shed light on two obscure, but nonetheless seminal, early American photographers, Leavitt Hunt (1830–1907) and Nathan Flint Baker (1820–1891). Although neither was a professional, Hunt and Baker were early photographic pioneers, using photography in its earliest years to document their travels and share their prints with friends and family members. They learned the calotype paper process in Rome in the autumn of 1851 and subsequently became the first Americans to create photographic impressions in that country as well as in Egypt, the Holy Land, and Greece during their subsequent eight-month voyage. Building upon the research in his new book, While the Sun Shines: The Lives and Pioneering Photographs of Leavitt Hunt and Nathan Flint Baker, David will examine the historical and cultural significance of the work of these two formative photographers.
Martin Last will tell the remarkable story of his once-in-a-lifetime flea-market find in Zurich that unearthed a rare and historic set of four daguerreotypes of the city, all showing structures designed by Swiss architect G. A. Wegmann. Before Martin’s discovery of these images, only three daguerreotypes of Zurich were believed to exist. Martin will walk us through his painstaking research on these photographs. Conservator Sandra Petrillo will discuss the complexities of conserving these historic plates. Martin and Sandra’s joint presentation encompasses the thrill of discovery, the joys of research, and the challenge of preserving early photographs for the future.
David Holcomb will address a subject not often thought of in conjunction with early photography: sports. David will take us decade-by-decade through the depiction of athletes and the sporting life in 19th-century photography, sharing a remarkable set of images, and discussing how the consistent innovation in chemistry and materials allowed for an increasingly detailed capture of the subject, from the static portraits of photography’s earliest years to the ultimate goal of freezing motion. In addition to being a collector, Holcomb is a teacher and coach and brings an especially nuanced sensibility to his material.
We are pleased to welcome Grant Romer, photographic historian, scholar, daguerreotypist, conservator, and a founding member of the Society, to speak on Daguerre’s early explorations in photography before his partnership with Niépce. Various historians have belittled Daguerre’s achievements before joining with Niépce, stating that he brought virtually nothing to it besides what he claimed to be an improved Camera Obscura. However, there are grounds to believe that his work was very significant in the development of the conceptualization of a photographic standard that was eventually reached by the Daguerreotype. Grant will give us an opportunity to dive deeper into the life and work of the man and his eponymous photographic process.
Liz Siegel, curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, will speak about the fascinating and prolific, but little-known, Art Institute curator Hugh Edwards. In the 1960s, Edwards acquired the very first cased images for the collection, and vastly expanded the Institute’s holdings of 19th- and 20th-century photography. At a moment before the establishment of a market for fine art photography, Edwards’s enthusiasm for the medium’s early years was shared by only a handful of curators, collectors, and rare-book dealers, and this talk will shed new light on the ways in which 19th-century photography entered museums — including an untold story on the collection that got away.
Liliana Shortridge is a high school student who has conducted her own research and archeological digs of 19th-century immigrant communities along Minnesota waterways. Her interest in the designs, materials, and manufacturing of everyday items of the time period evolved into an interest in the styles, designs, and methods of 19th-century photography. Liliana has acquired a collection of daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, and print photographs from antique stores, estate sales, and online sources, intrigued by their processes, subject matter, and the stories these images tell of lives lived generations ago. She will be presenting some of these images in a Member Showcase.
Tim Lindholm will discuss plans and progress of the project to develop the Society’s new website. The initial focus is on improving member registration and login, and creating a consistent, simpler commerce and checkout process. The Website Committee intends to refresh the look of the site, making it more reliable at the same time. This should position the Society well for adding new material and functionality in the future.
We are set for two tours (12 people each) at the Newberry, with Newberry Library curator Will Hansen, on Thursday, October 27, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. On this tour we will get a brief overview of the Newberry and see the Easterly daguerreotypes and other special 19th-century images in their holdings.
Chicago History Museum
We also will have two tours (10 people per tour) hosted by the Chicago History Museum on Thursday, October 27 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Art Institute of Chicago
We also have available behind-the-scenes tours of the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday, October 27, two tours (for 25 people), each tour 12:00–12:45 p.m. and 1:00–1:45 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago is committed to giving us free admission to this world-renowned museum during our time in Chicago. Admission is by showing your Society Symposium badge. Their holdings include the famed Samuel J. Miller daguerreotype of Frederick Douglass and the recently acquired W. Bruce and Delaney H. Lundberg Collection of 19th-Century American Photography.
An invitation to sign up for tours will be sent in email targeted for September 10th.
Please keep in mind because of limited capacity on all tours, it is requested you select only one tour. If availability arises for multiple tours, then your request may be honored.
One of the highlights of every Daguerreian Society Symposium - and one that's OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - is the Photo Fair. Each year it features a wide range of 19th-century photography...and some modern daguerreotypes, too.
This year's Photo Fair will be Saturday, Oct. 29 from 10 am-4 pm in the Empire Ballroom of Chicago's Palmer House Hotel. Admission for the public is $10. (Conference attendees get early-bird admission at 9:30 am for free.)
If you're not already a member of The Daguerreian Society, it's a great idea to JOIN before registering for the Symposium. You'll immediately save $75-100 on your Symposium registration, which already covers most of the cost of membership. And you'll get all the other benefits of membership -- the Daguerreian Society Quarterly, the Daguerreian Annual, access to member-exclusive talks, and more.
For international members and those unable to travel, an online option covering many activities also is available.
Photo Fair exhibitors: when you register for tables you will be asked for a name and contact information for each table -- like you are for each Symposium registration. Supply your business information, or feel free to reuse your Symposium registration information.